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10 Aug 2023

Wilko’s demise a ‘very sad day’ for East Midlands institution, says Chamber

Commenting on Wilko’s announcement that it has filed for administration, East Midlands Chamber director of partnerships David Pearson said: “This is a very sad day for a great institution of the high street and our thoughts are with the 12,000 people whose livelihoods are affected.

“Wilko has been a huge success story for the East Midlands, having opened its first store in Leicester 93 years ago and located its headquarters in Nottinghamshire for the past half a century.

“Its listing as the ninth largest company in Reach plc’s East Midlands Top 500 Companies 2023 reflected how it remained a relevant business.

“But like many retailers it has faced a multitude of structural challenges amid the transition to online shopping and cost pressures.

“Wilko’s enormous popularity with customers, which has been evident in many comments by the general public since last week’s news about its impending collapse, provides hope there is still an opportunity to save the company in some form.

“More broadly, the demise of another staple of the high street offers further evidence to Government of the need to back businesses by ‘getting the basics right’, as we set out in our blueprint for economic growth, titled A Centre of Trading Excellence: A Business Manifesto for Growth in the East Midlands and Beyond.

“Specifically, this means a full root-and-branch review of the broken business rates system – which currently severely hampers bricks-and-mortar retail – must be conducted during this Parliament, while outlining a long-term vision for business taxation in all forms would give companies the certainty to plan investments.”